The first generation the Honda Insight wasn't offered for sale in most European markets, including Spain. The Honda Civic hybrid is available here, but hasn't seen too many sales, in part because diesel is usually cheaper than gasoline. Honda thought that it would be a good idea to promote its new Insight hybrid using a slightly more intensive marketing campaign. Named the "EcoDesafío Honda Insight" (Honda Insight EcoChallenge), a new event asks drivers from all around Spain to participate in a big challenge: how well can you hypermile the new Insight? The event is currently being held in different cities around the country and we hit up last weekend's event in Barcelona. What was this all about? Follow us after the jump.
We were greeted at the Hotel Miramar Barcelona where the first Spanish TV studio was built 60 years ago and which overlooks the sea and the city from the Montjuïc hill. There, we were inundated with all the benefits of the Honda Insight compared to a standard gasoline vehicle. We were also instructed on how to get the maximum miles per gallon during the short drive circuit. Since the Insight is an automatic car, we were instructed on how to use it, since most Europeans drive manuals.
The circuit was very simple. We just went downhill the Montjuïc mountain, took the Ronda Litoral (the city's seaside highway) towards the Montjuïc Cemetery, then headed back to the hotel. On the return trip, we had to drive uphill along El Sot del Migdia, passing by the Olympic Stadium and the Fundació Miró. Total circuit length: 7.9 km, which we were supposed to drive in about 15 minutes.
Drivers were given points depending on our average speed, time and fuel consumption. The car's official consumption figure is 4.6 l/100 km (for the top Executive version, which we were driving). We were awarded 10 extra points over the standard 200 if we reduced our consumption by 0.1l/100 km over the standard (I managed 0.2 liters), we got the points subtracted for going over time (I did it in 18 minutes) and then our average speed was multiplied by 3 (I got 24 km/h). The winner of each city will participate in a same challenge performed on a circuit near Girona (NE Spain, near the French border) against moto GP champion Dani Pedrosa and the winner of that final event will be rewarded with a 12-month free lease the Insight Executive Navi. Second and third place winners will get tickets to go to the Moto GP race in Valencia.
After the challenge, we were asked our opinions about the car. I talked with the people who were in my test group and they said that: diesels still deliver the same mileage and feel stronger (i. e. have more torque); the interior quality was quite disappointing - we could see welding spots on the door frames - but the car's styling and overall drive feel were top notch. The Insight's price in Spain is quite good, less than €20,000, thanks to the car avoiding the registration tax. Thanks to Imma for helping me out!